Released through Reprise Records, Divine Discontent is Sixpence None the Richer's fourth proper album, not counting 1999's premature career retrospective Collage: A Portrait of Their Best. Ready to be issued two years prior to its eventual release, the album had been plagued by label issues before the band's inking with Reprise. The album opens with "Breathe Your Name," a prime example of the sweet acoustic pop that has helped Austin, TX's Sixpence None the Richer make a name for itself. The addition of light drum machine tones to a few of the album's tracks provides just a little more of an edge, and gives vocalist Leigh Nash an endearingly Dido-esque chanteuse quality. Still, even with a few distorted guitars in the mix, it is unlikely that anyone would ever accuse Sixpence None the Richer of being a rock band, and that is just fine, because the bandmembers are great at what they do, and to try to dress things up with too much studio gimmickry and wanky guitar solos would overshadow their charming pop sensibility. With several vocal layers stacking up to add power to the chorus and some of those stray fuzzy guitars working their magic, "Tonight" could pass for the finer moments of an outfit like the Corrs, while "Paralyzed," with the darkest lyrics and music ever included on a Sixpence record, calls to mind groups like the Cranberries, 10,000 Maniacs, or even Garbage, though this heavy number is very much the exception and not the rule on Divine Discontent.
Having initially gained recognition for the group's inescapably catchy, innocent, and sugary 1998 single, Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer wasn't able to properly follow up that single's success until its spot-on cover of the La's' "There She Goes" found its way to radio via the otherwise unremarkable Snow Day soundtrack. The bandmembers seem to be trying their luck with reworking popular hits of the late '80s once again, as Divine Discontent counts among its tracks a Sixpence take on Crowded House's classic "Don't Dream It's Over." Though it sounds little less dated than the original (as songs of that era tend to me a bit marred by '80s over-production), Sixpence's redux of "Don't Dream It's Over" doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but it is a solid song and Nash's angelic vocals are perfectly suited for it, maybe even more so than Neil Finn's in the original. Maybe. "Waiting on the Sun" mines an acoustic intro that is a little too close to Oasis' "Wonderwall," but is an otherwise cozy number, again in the vein of the Corrs. "Eyes Wide Open" genre-hops solemn acoustic and spunky, tavern-flavored piano pop, and is the quirkiest track on the record and one of the most endearing as well. With many of the album's 13 tracks hovering around the four-minute mark and a few topping out at six minutes, Divine Discontent drags a little at times, but is ultimately saved by the fact that it is hard to tire of hearing Nash's enchanting drawl. The album also goes easy on the Christian imagery, with the exception of "Dizzy," which rates among the most plodding and hookless of the album. Rating much higher in terms of production than Sixpence's earlier records and featuring guest spots from the likes of David Campbell (aka Beck's dad), Divine Discontent is a solid album that shows the band experimenting with its sound a little, though it probably doesn't have another Kiss Me in tow (unless "Don't Dream It's Over" is snatched up by radio). Divine Discontent is the first release to feature information in the liner notes regarding U2 frontman Bono's DATA (Debt-AIDS-Trade-Africa) initiative.